Field & Stream

Thanks, Bud

IT WAS THE VERY FIRST cast I ever made with a muskie fly. The 14-inch mass of bucktail, feathers, and flash smacked down a few feet from the bank of one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes like a teal that had tangled with Remington steel. Before I could bring the dead duck back to life, my friend Robert Hawkins, who was rowing, casually said, “Bury the tip of your rod in the water before you start stripping.”

Hawkins wasn’t the guy who figured out submerging your rod tip when you’re streamer fishing helps you keep better contact with your fly, which lets you feel a hit much faster, which increases the odds that you’ll nail a smooth, strong strip set. At some point, that knowledge was bestowed upon him. To date, I still haven’t caught a muskie on the fly, but that tidbit has helped me put tons more trout, smallies, pike, and stripers in the net.

I’ve probably passed it on to 20 more people in the last six years, many of whom I had the pleasure of watching use it to catch a fish the same day. None of them had asked for my advice, but as it goes,

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